So, I’m an independent woman and everything and even though I’m married, I’d like to think I’d be just fine without a man in my life. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to Drew, but if, God forbid, it did, or if I had never met him in the first place and were still single, I could survive. At least, that’s what I naively thought until this morning when the worst thing ever happened. You guys, there was a mouse in my house! My cat found it. And then he dropped it at my feet like a gift as I sat down at my desk this morning to start my work for the day. A MOUSE!
There are a few things in this world that irrationally elicit in me the kind of panic one normally only sees in grisly horror movies: being stuck in small spaces, being stuck in a long line at the airport with spring breakers all dressed in matching Juicy Couture sweats, thinking I’ve left my purse in a cab that’s just driven off, and mice. I have such a crazy fear of mice that once, years ago, when my then-boyfriend saw a mouse scamper across my kitchen floor while he was making some coffee for us one morning, I literally moved out the very next day. Well, first I screamed and screamed. Then I got dressed, looked at some apartments in my boyfriend’s neighborhood, signed a lease that afternoon, and moved my stuff to the new place the next morning. Never again will I live somewhere that has mice! I swore.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m living in Manhattan where pretty much everyone has a run-in with a mouse sooner or later. This wasn’t even my first run-in. I’ve had two here before — once in a restaurant in Harlem and once in my very own living room. While the restaurant sighting was simply gross, the apartment run-in left me so wound-up and panic-stricken I needed a Xanax to finally calm down. That was almost two years ago and I’d convinced myself — with the help of Drew — that any mice in our building would be so afraid of our two cats — and me! — they’d leave us alone forever. But, wrong!
I knew something was up last night when I saw Miles and Simone sniffing out a spot behind our sofa. “It’s probably just a waterbug!” Drew said cheerfully, like that was supposed to make everything better. A waterbug, if you don’t know, is just a nice way of saying “cockroach.” I think it’s something New York mothers invented to ease their kid’s trauma from seeing huge bugs in their homes. Water bugs! So playful and cute! Anyway, sure, a waterbug-cockroach may not be as alarming as a mouse, but it’s still pretty gross. I got out a can of Raid I keep stuffed in the back of the hall closet and sprayed manically behind the couch before I went to sleep. Then this morning, having forgotten all about the possible roach, I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my laptop, happily thinking about the weekend ahead.
And then! The horror of horrors!! Miles dropped a mouse at my feet! Yes, it was dead and that’s way better than a live mouse, but still. A mouse. In my apartment. By my feet! I let out a blood-curdling scream and raced to my bedroom where Drew was getting dressed for work.
“Mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse!” I shouted, jumping on the bed and curling up in a fetal position.
“OK, OK, calm down,” he said. “Where is it?”
“In the living room,” I said, now almost catatonic. “It’s dead.”
“Well, dead is good.”
“Get rid it! Please! Make it go away!!” I said.
“OK, I will,” he replied, “Let me just put my socks on.”
And then he went out to the living room and threw it away in the garbage can.
“Did you get it?” I shouted.
“Yeah,” he said, “It’s fine. It’s gone. Everything’s OK.”
“But. Is it still in the apartment? I mean, can you take the garbage out? Please? I can’t do my work if it’s still here.”
So, Drew took the garbage out on his way to work and 15 minutes later when I was sure the coast was clear, I stepped out of my room and came back to the scene of the crime. It took a good half-hour before my jitters were gone, but I’m fine now. But honestly? I really don’t know what I would have done had I been home alone. Even though the mouse was dead, I don’t think I could have disposed of it on my own. Like, I guess maybe I would have called my landlord or something. Ridiculous, right? I guess we all have our hang-ups. Rodents and traveling sorority girls just happen to be mine.
Original by Wendy Atterberry